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Features Business Trends
Trends for 2012 and beyond

December 30, 2011  By John Stanley

Dec. 30, 2011 – As we look forward to 2012, now is a great time to focus on our business strategy for the coming year. What are the trends we need to be aware of to ensure that, as physical
retailers, we are providing what the consumer is looking for? Are we
being seen as trends setters?

Dec. 30, 2011 – Switch on the TV or read the newspapers and you'll hear warnings that 2012 is going to be a challenging year for retailers. More and more consumers are converting from physical retail stores to virtual stores and this means that if you want to get the consumer to visit your store, you have to do something different.

Whilst many retailers may be concerned, garden retailers should be developing a new marketing niche. Consumers want to stay at home and enjoy weekend experiences that will include their garden. Gardening has now moved on from previous years. It is no longer a hobby; it is a lifestyle and one where more and more people want to get involved.


What are the trends we need to be aware of to ensure that, as physical retailers, we are providing what the consumer is looking for? Are we being seen as trends setters?

Are you colour aware?

According to Pantone, the kings of colour, they are predicting that Tangerine Tango is the cool fashion colour for 2012. This vibrant, orange hue is an excellent colour to use with displays as it can complement other colours. It's a strong colour that can be used to catch the consumers eye as they walk around the garden store. Compare this with the colours being predicted for 2013 by Lisa White of WGSN Trend Setters: she believes we will see fuchsia and purple becoming key colours, but all agree that green is the new gold. The colour green is going to be a fashion colour for the next few years.

Make it local colour
According to Lisa White, WGSN-Homebuildlife Trend Forecast, who was a speaker at the European Garden Centre Conference in Paris in December 2011, one of the key trends will be local colour over the next two years. This is not about colours, but about celebrating local culture. This means that as a retailer you need to get close to your community and celebrate community events. Retailers who host local events and are seen to be helping the community will prosper.
Consumers are going to ask about the origin of products and will prefer to buy local if the quality and price matches.
Local colour will include growing more vegetables, especially as decorative edibles.

Here and now

Consumers are getting busier. They are multitasking and therefore a trend will be for the “here and now.” Consumers will want to enjoy the moment, especially at home and the home will become more of a sanctuary.

People will bring nature indoors and indoors outdoors. This will mean they will be prepared to change things around more often and there will be dedicated room zones in the garden. Retailers will need to create more hero seasonal plants to help with room changes. One easy way of creating heroes is to take a picture frame and use it as a merchandising tool to highlight impulse plants. Create the picture for the customer and focus their eye on specific plants simply by placing one plant in the middle of the frame.


This may be the era of nostalgia, but, at the same time consumers are looking for state of the art and futuristic ideas. Lisa White believes one of the trends will be the Wonderlab. This can include soil less gardening, bright gaudy colours in plant schemes, terrariums and aquariums without fish and weird plants.
Old plants in new jackets

According to Romeo Sommers, a trend watcher from Holland, we will see a change in the image of plants. Old plants will take on a new life by being presented in what he calls a new jacket. New styles in containers will be developed. We need to be prepared to see a new wave of containers and new styles in containers. This also means that many consumers will purchase plants based on the colour and style of the container rather than the plant itself.

He also stresses that we need to start helping the consumer to enjoy plants. A common theme among younger potential consumers is the following reaction: “Plants are difficult things that we need to keep alive and we feel responsible for them.” It is good that they are caring for the plants, but at the same time they should be enjoying the experience and not be concerned and stressed about caring for them.

2012 will be about merchandising that will have:

  • Stopping Power
  • Inspiration
  • Emotion
  • Entertaining
  • Combinations

We need to make shopping easy. Achieve that and we will have more of an opportunity to ensure shoppers shop in-store rather than shop online.

John Stanley is a conference speaker and consultant with clients in over 33 countries.

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